Cheshire East Council has submitted its revised development framework for examination by an independent planning inspector.
The draft plan, known as the site allocation and development policy document (SADPD), contains changes following four rounds of consultations with residents and local councils, and took on board a wide range of comments from the public. This would support the Local Plan Strategy, which was adopted in 2017, and would complete the approved framework for housing, employment and other key infrastructure up to 2030.
The document sets out revised planning policies to guide decisions on planning applications, as well as identifying new sites for small-scale developments. However, most development needs have already been provided for via the Local Plan Strategy.
The SADPD sets out more detailed planning guidelines, aimed at ensuring new development is of a high quality and is well designed. Among the revisions to the SADPD are:
- Retention of green belt sites, previously earmarked for development; and
- Strengthened environmental standards for new development to help tackle climate change.
Cllr Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council’s environment and communities committee, said:
The site allocations and development policy document would have a central role in guiding planning application decisions and would thus help shape and protect the quality of the places in which we live in our beautiful borough.
“Thank you to everyone who engaged with the consultations and submitted comments. The revisions we have made are a direct response to the comments we have received from our residents and I believe this has delivered a more robust framework to better equip us to shape and manage sustainable development in Cheshire East.”
The first part of the council’s Local Plan, the Local Plan Strategy, was adopted in July 2017. It sets out the vision and overall spatial strategy for the borough to 2030. It includes strategic policies and allocates ‘strategic sites’ for development.
The SADPD is the second part of the Local Plan. Its purpose is to make provision, where necessary, for additional, generally smaller sites to accommodate growth. This has now been submitted to the secretary of state for communities for examination by a planning inspector.
The examination will assess whether the plan has been prepared in accordance with legal and procedural requirements and if it is sound, well prepared, effective and consistent with national policy. The inspector will consider the evidence provided by the council to support the plan and any representations which have been put forward by local people and other interested parties.
It is expected that the examination will include hearing sessions held in public. Depending on the restrictions in place at the time, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they may be conducted virtually in whole or in part.
Proposed changes, known as main modifications, that the inspector considers necessary are subject to public consultation for six weeks during the examination. At the end of the examination, the inspector will send a report to the council with their findings including final, recommended ‘main modifications’.
After that, the plan, incorporating the main modifications, can be adopted by the council.